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Crews Repair Vital Ocean City Bridge

Wed December 09, 2009 - Northeast Edition
Brenda Ruggiero

For a short time this fall, the MD 90 (Ocean City Expressway) Bridge in Worcester County, Md., was closed for repair. It was reopened to traffic just in time for Thanksgiving, on Nov. 24. The bridge was originally scheduled to open in mid-December after it was closed on Oct. 15 by the Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration (SHA) in order to replace an 85-ft. (26 m) section.

“The MD 90 Bridge, which crosses Assawoman Bay, carries 18,000 vehicles each day to and from Ocean City, which is a popular resort on Maryland’s Eastern Shore,” said Kellie Boulware of SHA. “During a recent inspection, our engineers discovered that a section of the center span of the bridge had significant deterioration. Immediately, SHA enforced a weight restriction on the bridge of no more than 6,000 pounds, which limited use to passenger vehicles only, and all traffic was diverted to the southern bridge — U.S. 50 (Harry Kelly Memorial Bridge) to reach Ocean City. The MD 90 bridge carries one lane in each direction. Traffic has experienced no problems during the detour, as the other bridge carries four lanes of traffic.”

The $1.1 million emergency maintenance contract was awarded to McLean Contracting Co. of Glen Burnie, Md. and High Steel Structures Inc. of Lancaster, Pa. Donnie Drewer, SHA District 1 engineer, praised the companies for their timely and efficient work.

The contract included the removal of one 85-ft. section of the bridge over the navigational channel, the fabrication and setting of new steel replacement beams, the pouring of a new concrete bridge deck on the newly placed beams, re-striping of pavement and the installation of new raised pavement markets.

“The MD 90 bridge was being inspected on a more frequent basis as a result of deterioration found during a routine inspection this spring,” said SHA administrator Neil J. Pedersen. “Our aggressive inspection schedule allowed a potentially serious problem to be found, evaluated and have action taken to maintain the safety of all vehicles.”

According to Boulware, the project also has an incentive/disincentive which is typically successful on most bridge projects.

“Crews continued to work around the clock to get the work done,” she said. “Due to the waterway impacts, SHA worked closely with the U.S. Coast Guard to relocate the channel for marine traffic.”

During the project, a total of eight workers from McLean Contracting and one SHA project manager were onsite. Approximately 85 cu. yds. (65 cu m) of concrete was poured for the deck.

Subcontractors for the job included Fox Industries of Baltimore, Md., for manufacturing the scuppers and repairing corbels within the deteriorated section; High Steel Structures of Lancaster, Pa., for manufacturing the girders and diaphragms, and URS for design.

The equipment list included “Cape Fear,” a water rig friction crane, which can lift 250 tons (226.8 t), an 18-ton (16.3 t) Grove hydraulic crane, air compressors, and various other construction equipment.

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